A bit about who we are, what we do and why we do it.
As soon as we moved to Lancaster we felt the lack of a town bakery very keenly. Lancashire holds its own for great local produce but there are gaps on every high street in Britain where fishmongers, butchers and bakers used to stand and serve our local communities and Lancashire is no exception. We have particularly lost our bakers. After home production grew to supply more and more friends, it was decided that Something Needed To Be Done about the wider bread supply (if only to keep the kitchen cleaner).
With a shoestring budget from some brave local investors and bread lovers plus an incredulous but willing army of friends, a shop was found and spruced up. The first weeks began modestly, with fantastic support from the local community from the outset; on the day we opened Filbert’s we had never even baked so many loaves of bread before! We were welcomed and encouraged, so we took heart and set to the task of making some really good bread, five times a week.
Our approach is to be as far away as possible from the bread we are all familiar with in the supermarket, where the focus is on speed and price at the expense of flavour, and nutrition. Filbert’s’ is slow bread; we believe that bread will only taste outstanding if one of the ingredients is time. So, imagine a rich smell as you tear a chunk off, some real bite as you taste it, and for that taste to have been anticipated by the loafs appearance. We love to hear of loaves that are munched before they even get home, to hear customers exclaim as they pick up a still warm loaf and talk of the memories that recalls.
The shop’s complete lack of tradition is actually rather liberating – inspiration can strike one day and be acted upon the next. And if the customers like it, it stays. We now make cinnamon rolls from Scandinavia, roast potato bread from Italy, prune and cardamom bread from France, ‘overnight’ white from everywhere that loves a loaf of delicious white bread, to name a few.
It will be no surprise that good ingredients are a key part of our ethos; organic flour, locally supplied dairy, fruit and vegetables – so local that there is even a bartering system with local gardeners and allotment holders. We have enjoyed bounteous supplies of rhubarb, chard, courgettes (of course), currants and apples and vastly enjoy thinking up a variety of ways to use it all.
And we are proud to accept the challenge of baking for some of the food minorities amongst our customers, making dairy free pasties and sweet treats daily as well as cakes and bread using gluten free ingredients (on request).